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Diversity and inclusion

RIC Dance2914a

Inclusivity, individuality, and mutual respect are crucial foundations for life and are at the heart of RIC. This has been recognised in many reports over the years, including by the ISI who observed: “Students expressed great enthusiasm and appreciation of the way that they worked with one another. Students said that this was because the ethos of the school is highly inclusive, welcoming and supportive, and that, as a consequence, all students treated and supported others from backgrounds different to their own with great respect.” 

There is no one RIC archetype. With such a varied approach, It isn’t easy to neatly sum RIC up. But there is a saying we like: come as you are, leave as you want to be. It’s not Latin, but it sits well with the imaginative and purposeful people who find a home here. So let’s go with that.

The Good Schools Guide in their 2024 review said: “Inclusivity is another strength of the school, according to pupils. No cliques and no ‘casual racism’, they told us – helped by the diversity of cultures, they reckon - and the LGBTQ+ community is well represented, with preferred pronouns used at all times. The social justice club draws an earnest crowd with impressive pro-action eg attending the Amnesty International Youth Conference, making and selling sweets for Medway Street Angels and selling popcorn to ‘Stop Hate’.

Hassan from Saudi Arabia has just finished his third year at UCL’s Medical School. He first came to RIC for a one-year GCSE course. Hassan says: “RIC was a lot like the international school I studied at in the Middle East. The diversity of cultures eased me into RIC where I have attended Science fairs, musicals, plays, art and fashion exhibitions, won essay writing competitions and played on the football team. RIC was like to home to me for three years.”  

Students engaged in themed lessons across various subjects during Black History Month, including discussions on notable figures such as Carter G Woodson, Faith Ringgold, and bell hooks. A special session on African drumming was held for Sixth Form students, led by Kwame from African Activities. Student feedback included: “In one of my art lessons the teacher talked about black artists and we all looked at some of the art that modern black artists have made, and it made me think that as a black artist myself, how comes I didn't even know about any black artists and that leads into a deeper conversation, because in my secondary school we listened to a power point that never taught us and we never understood how important it was and it is, that's why I was surprised that we had a lesson on black artists because it never really happened in my previous schools.”

Empowered by Vee

RIC was pleased to welcome Vee Kativhu, the inspiring YouTube visionary, education activist and founder of the initiative, Empowered by Vee. She uses her platform to share tips and advice to help underprivileged and underrepresented people from across the world recognise their own talent and potential. An Oxford and Harvard graduate, Vee has been named a Rare Rising Star, Future Leader, Diversity Champion and LinkedIn Changemaker. 

She spoke to our students about her story and setting goals and her visit to Star Hill caused quite a buzz.

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has visited RIC, speaking on the subject of direct action. His Underhill lecture on the subject is now featured on the Peter Tatchell Foundation website. 

Also visiting RIC recently was Jude Guaitamacchi. A trained PHSE educator, they were the face of Harrods H Beauty‘s campaign My Beauty is Being Myself. Showing that the RIC student voice extends to our alumni, Jude’s visit was suggested by former student Jules who said: “I know an LGBTQ+ awareness consultant and speaker who goes to schools giving presentations to students. I know if we‘d had someone like Jude come to our school when we were kids it could have made all the difference in the world.” 

Our annual Culture Day is dedicated to celebrating diversity and cultural heritage, featuring activities, performances, and displays showcasing different cultures represented in our school community.  We celebrated Dyslexia Awareness Week- students participated in activities and discussions to raise awareness about dyslexia and promote understanding and support for students with dyslexia. The LGBTQ+ Club and Gemma's Feminist Literature Club continue to meet regularly, providing students with opportunities for discussion and community engagement. Theatre trips represent our diverse community for example to A Strange Loop at The Barbican and Cabaret at The KitKat Club and Little Big Things. Film screenings organized by the College include celebrations of LGBTQ History month and Black History month. On diabetes awareness day students participated in activities to raise awareness about diabetes, including painting their nails blue. 

At RIC, we celebrate our international community with food nights throughout the year. Recently, our boarding students organised a Japanese movie marathon evening dedicated to Studio Ghibil animations. It was a great night for the students to enjoy a popular part of Japanese culture with movies and pyjamas, sushi, and of course ramen. Students also enjoyed a trip this year to see the RSC’s stage version of My Neighbour Totoro. Our Chinese students enjoyed taking their UK and international friends for hotpot at the London outpost of iconic restaurant Haidilou with origins in Sichuan province.

Third culture kids

Globally grounded, cosmopolitan kids from all over the world find a home at RIC for their secondary education. British students whose parents are in the forces or based overseas as expat workers often join after taking their GCSEs at international schools who are preparing for their transition to university in the UK. 

Joining in year 7 is Addison whose picture ‘Third Culture Kid’ hung in the Young Artists’ Summer Show at the RA and features in the accompanying calendar. She says:“I am mixed-race British Nigerian but have grown up in Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt and I now live in England. This picture is about everything that I experience and love in my life.”

Thai ties

Since 1991 RIC has welcomed many outstanding young Thai academics who win prestigious places on a scholarship programme.

The Royal Thai government support the students through their A levels at RIC and then through top UK universities. The scholars return home, often after completing doctorates and work in senior positions for the Thai government or in academia. Our scholars are also often accomplished artists, musicians and chess players. Some of our Thai students combine in true RIC style academic and creative interests. Alongside her Science A levels Pawita also studied Fine Art and one of her paintings completed at RIC is pictured above. Another was presented to the Thai embassy in London.

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Education without borders

International students

Welcoming the world to Rochester

Student ambassadors